Sunday, June 17, 2012
Sarah Jane Taylor, daughter of James Whitehead Taylor and Ann Rogers was born April 3, 1842 at Oldham, Lancashire, England.
When she was a small child she came to America with her parents. As they crossed the plains, she walked much of the way, some of the time carrying her baby sister, Margaret, on her back. Her mother was pregnant with twins and they died at birth on the plains.
She had a sweet voice and the story is told of her sitting in the back of the wagon as they traveled across the plains singing songs to her baby sister. The Indians were attracted by her sweet singing and followed the wagons. They asked her father to trade her to them for a horse.
Her family settled in Lehi, Utah. Her people were poor and as a girl she had to work hard, sometimes gleaning grain in the fields so they could have flour. They had to go barefoot and many times her feet would bleed. Grandfather (James Harwood) was so sorry for her that be bought her some shoes and he finally got her parents to consent to their marriage even though she was very young.
She married James T. Harwood, June 10, 1856 and they were very happy together. They built an adobe house, one room of which he used for a store. Later they built a store and sold groceries and dry goods. He also made harnesses and saddles and sold them.
She was a sweet, kind, lovable person, always clean and neat appearing, and an excellent cook, a good housekeeper and a lover of beauty. She gave birth to twelve children, six girls and six boys, nine of whom lived to maturity.
They taught their children thrift and honesty and instilled in them high ideals by setting a good example. They encouraged education and the development of talents.
I, their granddaughter, love them dearly and as a child I thought nobody else had such wonderful grandparents. Their home to me was the most beautiful place on earth. The vine covered house, the holly hocks, golden glow and roses that grew in their garden I shall always remember and love the memory. The grape arbor, the good apples that grew in the orchard, the joy of watching the trout in grandfather’s private fish pond and gathering walnuts at their place on Thanksgiving Day- things I shall never forget. I loved to hear the drip of water from the leaky tap in the kitchen sink and the song of the canary- - these I associated with grandmother’s kitchen.
I loved the days when grandfather and grandmother came to visit at our house. They never failed to bring us children some little treat. In my memory I can still see grandfather coming down our lane driving old “Nick” in the one seated buggy. That’s about the last thing I remember of him.
Grandfather died October 26, 1912 at Lehi, Utah at the age of 78. Grandmother died November 14, 1922 in Salt Lake City at the age of 90.
Written by Zada Smith Peterson.
Mary Amelia Smith was born 26 February 1891, in Lehi, Utah. She was the daughter of George Henry Smith, Sr. and Mary Jane Harwood. Mary was blessed on 5 November 1891 by A. Anderson. She was baptized and confirmed by E.A. Bushman on 7 March 1899.
She had her schooling in Lehi, Utah. She and her family migrated from Utah to Idaho December 5, 1905.
She married Raymond Taylor in Riverside, Idaho on 27 May 1907. They were married by Bishop John Bitton. Their marriage was solemnized in the Logan Temple on 21 July 1921. She also received her endowments that day in Logan.
Mary received her Patriarchal blessing from Arson H. Hickenlooper on 20 April 1924.
She died in Blackfoot, Idaho on June 5, 1967 and was buried in the Blackfoot (Grove City) Cemetery.
During her life she served in the following church positions: Primary Teacher, Primary Counselor, Primary President, Y. L. M. I. A. Counselor, Stake Primary Leader, and 1st Counselor of the Relief Society from April 1939 to August 1943.
I was born at Lehi City, Utah on February 26, 1891. The daughter of George Henry Smith and Mary Jane Harwood. I was one of eleven children. They had two boys and nine girls. I spent my childhood in Lehi, starting school at the age of six years. We went to school in the afternoon the first year, then in the morning until I reached the third grade. After that I went all day.
We had to cross the railroad to get to school and I used to run all the way until I got across the tracks, for I was afraid the train would block the road and I would be late for school. As long as I went to school I was only late once and that was because a train stopped me at the crossing and my teacher didn’t mark me late. We walked a mile and a half to school.
We children would go to the field with father and play while he worked. As we were coming home father would always stop and let us pick wild flowers. We rode in the wagon to the fields and back. In the winter we used to have blizzards. And father used to come with warn shawls and help us home.
The first thing I remember was when my little brother was born. I was just four. I was so happy, I always loved babies so much, and we were all so happy when a new baby came to our house. Mother had a cradle for the baby and I used to lay on the floor and rock it with my feet. He was sure hard to get to sleep, or it seemed so to me for I wanted to go play. Mother would have us children take turns getting the baby to sleep.
My sister, Zada, and I used to play house. She was two years younger than I. We would build our houses in the silver maple tree out by our lane. If we ever got a nickel we would buy a yard of voile (it was 5 cents a yard) and make our dolls dresses. We used to make our play dishes out of apples or sugar beets. Father used to give us all the red and yellow beets to make our dishes out of.
Uncle Ted Smith and his family live just through the fence from us and Uncle Jim Taylor’s family lived just on the south. They had children our ages and we had a very happy time playing together. We used to go to Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving. They had English walnuts and they would always leave some on the trees and on the ground for us children to gather. We sure had fun hunting them and seeing who could find the most. Grandmother would always have turkey, plum pudding, and mince pies. She was such a good cook. Sometimes there would be snow and we would go for a ride in the bob sleigh.
Every summer father and mother would take us children and go to the west canyon for ten days. They would get some of their friends and families to go with us. Sometimes there would be more than one hundred people in the canyon at one time. We would have a big bonfire and all sit around it, sing songs and telling stories. They were very happy times. I remember one time in the canyon the older boys and girls were going to gather chokecherries. I started to go with them. After we had gone some distance they sent me back to camp. I went past the camp and kept on going until I knew I was lost. Then I got frightened and began to cry. There were cattle around and that made me more afraid. Soon they missed me and came to find me. When I saw father and the rest of them coming I sure was glad. It is a terrible feeling to be lost in the canyon. I never left the older ones again and didn’t enjoy our trips to the canyon too much after that.
Christmas was a happy time at our home. Our folks didn’t have much money and a large family. Mother used to let us pop corn and make chains out of colored paper for the tree. We would get red apples and shine them to hang on the tree. Father used to go to the canyon and get us a cedar tree. We used to get one present. Either a doll or dishes. Grandmother always gave us some little thing. Our dolls were just little ones with a china head, hands and feet.
I remember the last doll I had. It had hair and brown eyes and a pink dress. The neighbor boys were over to our house playing and broke my doll. It almost broke my heart too.
When I was fifteen years old we moved to Blackfoot, Idaho. It was the 5th of December 1905. My sister, just older than I, didn’t go to school after coming to Idaho. Father was working for the Sugar company and we didn’t have a way to go to school. There was a little school house just across the street from our home, but they had one teacher for all eight grades and a poor teacher at that. We had been going to a good school and wouldn’t go to school here. I have always been sorry that I didn’t finish my school but it was my own fault.
I met and married Raymond Taylor on May 27, 1907 at Riverside, Idaho. He didn’t belong to the church, but did join our church in 1918. I was very happy about it. To this union were born five children: Elmer Ray, Glen Coy, Fay Marley, Alice Marie, and Var Max. We were very happy all our married life. Ray was a devoted husband and father. Before our last baby was born, we went to the Logan Temple of the 21st of July 1921 and were married for all ETERNITY and had our children sealed to us. Then in February 1924, he took sick with appendicitis and died the 1st day of March.
Our oldest son, Elmer, was but 15 years old and Var, our youngest, was only one year old. We got along as best we could. The boys ran the farm and for a few years I took school teachers in to board. After Elmer got married, we sold the farm and bought us a home on the Riverside town site. Ray asked me before he died to keep the family together. I tried to do it and did until they were all married. I had many friends, mother and father, sisters and brothers to help me. The children were good to me and helped all they could. I was so thankful for the faith I had. To know I could go to my Heavenly Father in prayer and He would always help me in my time of need.
Without that faith, I don’t think I could of stood the trials I went through. I have tried to live a clean life and hope I have never done anything that would cause my children to be ashamed of me. I think everyone of them are fine children. I have the best daughter-in-laws and son-in-law in the world. I am so proud of them and all my grandchildren. I hope and pray that the day will come then they will all go to the temple and be sealed for time and eternity.
Elmer, our oldest one, married Elsie Gardner. They moved to Montana in April 1942 and in October 1943, Elmer passed away from a heart attack. He left a wife and four children. Glen married Naomi Turpin and they have six children. Fay married Dora Weaver and they have four children. Alice married Mearl Wheeler and they have four children. Var married Nelda Hansen. They have two children. They all have their own homes, and are good citizens, and Latter-Day Saints. This makes me very happy.
I married Frank T Halverson, May 29, 1933. He has been a good husband and a good father to my children. We are very happy together. We have had many wonderful trips and he does everything to make my life happy.
I served as first counselor in the Primary. I was Primary President for six years. A counselor in the Young Ladies Mutual under two presidents. First counselor in the Relief Society, and a visiting teacher for 30 years. I also served on the Primary Stake board.
I had a son, step-son, and son-in-law in World War II and have two grandsons in the air force now.
(Written in July 1952- though the editor took the liberty and adding children to Uncle Fay’s family and Uncle Var’s- as Dennis and Robert weren’t born until later.)
Poem written by Mary Taylor Halverson
If someday, a million years for now,
Beyond the misty fields of heaven,
While walking alone,
I should hear a bird-like, high-pitched voice,
I know my heart will skip a beat.
There will be no need to turn and about
Nor guess who might be greeting me.
Life made only one such quaint sound.
That moment will revive her face and gentleness for me,
And, before I turn to see her smile,
My mind will conjure her again;
Slight and shivering, in early morning Idaho light,
Trying to say “Goodbye” without tears.
Our farewells seemed all too long.
I placed my jacket around her shoulders
And she felt me warmth. . .
We never saw each other again.
And still, so still, I hear her voice.
I was born in
Jan. 25, 1862. My father James F Harwood was born in Lehi, Utah England, July 3, 1834. My Mother
Sarah J Taylor was born in , April
3, 1842. Oldham,
My girlhood and part of my married life was spent in the town of my birth. I remember my brother, Jim, and I riding an old mule to school in stormy weather. Father would go with us leading the mule. The first Sunday school was held in grandfather Taylor's home. It was the first Sunday school in Lehi. Grandfather was the first Sunday school superintendent in Lehi.
As a child, we used to play on the old forte wall which was quite near our home. An old man lived near by and he used to frighten us by telling us we'd break the wall. There used to be some holes by the forte wall from which they had taken the mud to build the wall with. These were filled with water, and at certain times of the year, these would be filled with polly-wogs. We used to catch them and have much fun with them.
I remember well my first coat. I was 15 or 16 years old. I had purchased it with money received from drying apples, peaches, apricots, and plumbs. Mother gave us half of the fruit we dried. I paid $9.00 for my coat and was very proud of it.
I remember that the grasshoppers were so bad they ate everything that was green. When they were flying, there was so many, one could not see the sun.
When I wanted to go to a dance I would promise my brother, Jim, I would make him a custard pie. I usually got results. We used to have parties and shows at our home. We would charge pins for admission to the shows. Other amusements were apple and peach cuttings, and carpet rag bees. In the winter, crowds would go skating on
. Utah Lake
Before my husband was married, we had many pleasant joy rides in a spring wagon. After Sunday School, perhaps two other couples and us would go for a wagon ride and I am sure we enjoyed it fully as much as the young people do car riding today.
I was married to George H. Smith on December 24, 1881. We first lived in a small log room. Our furniture comprised a small stove, 4 chairs, a table, a bed, 2 trunks and a sewing machine that father and mother gave us. They also gave us a heifer calf. We lived there until March then moved in the field in a small lumber room on 2 acres of ground. We added an adobe room to our lumber room. I went with my husband in the west hills to get rock for the foundation and helped him haul the adobe. He would hand them to me and I would place them in the wagon. I held a candle while he laid the floor at night. We finished our house just two weeks before our first baby, Grace, was born.
On Sept. 23, my husband went to the canyon for wood. He was to be gone until the next day. Before leaving he took me to mothers. I rode on the running gear of the wagon. That night our first baby was born. A few years later we built two more rooms on our house making it very comfortable. We planted a good orchard, a fine variety of fruit trees, currants, berries and grapes. We had eleven children and they were all born in that home in Lehi. We had many hardships and struggles, but mixed with the sorrow and worries was much love, joy and happiness. We buried 4 children in Lehi: Grace, Sammie, Clara and Flora, which was indeed a trial.
We had many good times going to parties and having our friends and families come to our home. We always spent Thanksgiving and the 24th of July at father and mother’s home. Almost every summer we would take our family and spend a week in the canyon. Some friends and their families would go too. At one time there was 90 Lehi people in camp at the same time.
As we were returning from one trip in the canyon, we had trouble which might have ended very seriously. We had a young horse which drove a light buggy. My brother Fred was driving it. My husband wanted me to ride in the buggy because he thought it was too much for me to walk and carry Clara who was about 9 months old, but I was afraid to ride so the children and I walked down the canyon. The men had gone ahead with a wagon load of wood and they got stuck as they went up a steep hill. They were calling to the horses trying to make them pull and frightened the horse which was hitched to the buggy. He ran away with Fred. He jumped of a steep creek bank and turned the buggy up-side down in the creek. Fred jumped out in time to escape getting hurt. We were very grateful for the inspiration which kept me out of the buggy.
My sister Flora Gibbs had an experience which has been a great testimony to me. She was in bed with her last baby and very ill. Her heart was very bad and it was doubtful if she would recover. One morning a man dressed in white entered her room and said, "It is time you were getting your work done," she was frightened and did not reply. He then repeated the same statement. She said, "How can I get it done, sick as I am?" He repeated it a third time and left the room. When she told mother about it she said "Oh you were just dreaming". But when I called in the afternoon she said to me, "Jane, I've had the funniest thing happen to me". Then she related her experience to me and she said, "I could not have been dreaming for I was wide awake." I told her, "Now Flo, the Lord would never have sent that warning to you without giving you a chance to do your work." She did get well and was baptized and wanted to go to the Temple with her husband and be sealed, but it was harvest time and they kept putting it off until her husband’s nerves collapsed. He was taken to
to his mother and father. Shortly afterwards, Flo died. Three of the children
were taken to Canada,
including the baby and the other three remained in Lehi with her sisters. After
a few months her husband recovered and he brought two children with him and had
his wife and five children sealed to him. His brother had taken care of the
baby and had moved away and couldn't bring her with him.
I joined the church after we were married and we went to the
and had our
endowments. My father's family didn't belong to the church and my brother, Don,
delighted in arguing with me about my religion. Logan
In one conversation he asked me why it was that the Elders converted usually the poorer class of people. This I was unable to answer. I thought about it and felt badly because he was so sure he had made a point there. My eyes were bad and I couldn't do much reading. That night after going to bed I thought about it and was real worried during the night. I saw Jesus Christ standing on a high mountain. He was holding a large Bible open and he said to me "Read". I thought and I said to Him, "I cannot read, my eyes are too bad." Then there appeared to me in large figures 1213. They appeared twice. In the morning when Ben came to breakfast I told him about it. He got the small bible, but couldn't find that many chapters in it. I knew it must be there. I remember it was a small bible he held so we got a larger bible which had belonged to his father and mother, and sure enough on that page was the "Sermon on the Mount" which was the perfect answer to Don's question.
Once while visiting with Aunt Mary Wood in Salt Lake I met a Mrs. Conobes from Spanish Fork. She related to me an incident in her life when she was a child she saw an angel. She also told me I would have a large family that would be a credit to me. I am the mother of eleven children and I feel that her prediction came true.
In the year 1903, Grace died. We had her sealed to Eugene Webb. In Jan. 1904, George was married to Christie Sharp and two weeks later left for a mission in the northern states.
That same year our son, Sammie, died of a heart ailment. My husband was away in Idaho employed by the sugar company. This was indeed a trial for me. In August 1905 our last baby was born and we named her Fern. She was such a comfort to us. In Feb. 1905 Annie was married to Eugene Webb. In Dec. of that year we moved to Blackfoot,
Idaho. It was very hard to leave my home,
and Annie, Mother, father, sisters, and friends and go away among strangers. I
took me quite a long time to get used to it. I soon made many friends whom I
learned to love dearly. In Feb. 1906 while I was in Lehi visiting my daughter
Annie, Clara, who was 8 years old became violently ill with a pain in her head.
The Doctor couldn't decide what was the trouble. She became helpless as a baby
and lost her eye sight. We had within such a short time lost three children
just older than she, then we felt we could not give her up. We prayed and
exercised our faith and did everything in our power for her but she did not
improve in any way. We took her to Idaho
on a stretcher in May of that year. The doctors there could do nothing for her.
She just lingered on helpless and pitiful. In Sept. I felt that I could stand
it no longer so I brought myself to say "Thy will be done" and began
to put her things away. Very soon after that she passed away. I was convinced
that the Lord know best. When we ask for our loved ones to be spared to us, we
should be willing to say "Thy will be done". Through our trouble we
learned what a host of real friends we had and that Idaho was a good place to live.
In May 1912, I was set-a-part as Relief Society President of
When asked to be president, I told the Bishop I didn't think I was capable. But
he felt that I should take it. I told him I would talk to father and then let him
know. Father thought it would be a good thing for me, but I couldn't feel
convinced. That night I dreamed a large crowd was going on the train and I
decided to not go with them. I could see the train pulling out with all those
people leaving me behind. I at once thought of Relief Society and how it would
go on without me and I would fail to enjoy the privileges and experiences which
awaited me if I failed to respond to the call. I accepted the call and will
never cease being grateful for the joy and enrichment of spirit that experience
In May 1914 we sent our daughter Zada to the Central States on a mission. She was married to Ancle Peterson in June 1916.
In the year 1918 we purchased a home in Blackfoot and move there. I was very happy and contented in that home which was indeed very convenient and lovely. We enjoyed the neighborhood so much too. We were members of the Blackfoot 2nd Ward. While there, I acted as Relief Society Teacher. In 1929 we sold our home and moved on the other side of town in the home we had purchased from George. We remodeled the house and made it very comfortable but I was never contented there. Perhaps one reason for that was because my health was very poor. We were farther from the ward house and I couldn't be so active in church affairs.
Fern was married to Fred Gurney. In the summer of 1924 when Fern's first baby was only a few weeks old, Fred's father, mother, and brother from Lehi were making then a visit. They decided to take them on an outing to Indian Springs and they invited father and me to go to. We chose a certain place to eat our lunch but in order to get there it was necessary to go down the hill and carry Fern's baby. Therewas some willows at the foot of the hill and due to a misunderstanding, I came from behind the willows directly in front of the car. Father saw me and threw on the brakes but they did no good. There was no possible way for me to get out of the way. Something seemed to tell me to sit on the bumper which I did and there I rode until the car was stopped.
In the spring of 1935, we sold our home and purchased one in Lehi. We moved back to our old home town. George and Annie are still living there. Also two of my sisters and many dear friends. We love our home for it is lovely. The people of Lehi gave us a hearty welcome and have continued to be very friendly and nice to us. We are enjoying it all and are very happy except that we get lonely for our children in
Idaho and the dear friends we have there.
Mary Amelia Smith Taylor Halverson added this note: Mother died Feb 8, 1939 at Lehi
Utah at the age of 77 years. She was a
wonderful mother and a true Latter-Day-Saint.
I, James Taylor was born at
Dryclough Edge Lane,
near Royton Lancashire ,
the son of Samuel and Sarah Taylor. I pass over my early days to the age of 21
years. At that time, having married and being rather unsuccessful in my
circumstances, I had begun to reflect and think that something was wrong. And
just at this period the Latter-day Saints came to the town where I lived and
one of their apostles came to preach in the neighborhood where I was then
living. The Apostle's name was Parley P. Pratt. England
I was invited to go and hear him, but heard many strange reports that they did away with the old Bible and had a new one they called the Golden Bible. I went to hear with my mind made up to oppose and tell the preacher we had no use for him or his Bible. I had been taught by Mother to love and revere the good old Book.
I went to hear and was astonished to find everything so plain, his reasoning so correct. Although I did not understand all his remarks about the priesthood, as I had read considerable about what was call[ed] the priesthood in the Catholic Church. Such as the Spanish Inquisition. I thought we had plenty of priests. The rest of his discourse I did like.
After this I was visited by two neighbors, both of the same trade as myself—blacksmiths. The[y] preach[ed] to me very faithfully, but I had no idea of believing them till one night I had a very strange Dream, and in it I saw the destruction of the wicked. I was shown very plain the only way to escape was by going to [the] waters of baptism. Another part of my dream was concerning a man we supposed dead and buried. I thought he came to us alive—and caused us much trouble. This part was fulfilled just as I had dreamed it.
I told this to a man I worked with. Said I, "If the Latter-day Saints were to hear of that it would just suit them." But I thought I would not tell them. But it so happened I did tell one of my neighbors, and he went to meeting and told it that I had a vision. And from that time I had no rest till I was baptized in the month of June 1841.
I had not been in the church but a short time when they ordained me a priest and set me to preaching. I preached everywhere where I was sent. I soon had a testimony to know it was the work of God. My wife began to be very bitter against the saints and [I] sometimes thought I received more abuse than anyone ever did, but perhaps not. About this time, some two years after I obeyed the Gospel, I was accused of great wickedness, of which I was as innocent as a baby, and was in great trouble. When on going to place for secret prayer, when I felt I could bear no more, the Lord whispered in my ear very plainly these words: "Tis gone forth a firm decree that as thy strength shall be."  This encouraged me and took away my trouble. I was much blessed in preachings and traveled about a great deal.
In some two years from that time I was ordained an Elder, which caused very much jealousy in the president of the Branch—which caused him to lose his place—and Richard Cook was appointed President, and we had better times. Not long after that, Br. Cook was appointed to preside over the Manchester Conference, and I was appointed to preside over the Oldham Branch.
I was a great reader of the Bible and tried to be as useful as I could be, and before
long we added to the Branch over one hundred members, amongst them my two brothers Thomas and William, Edwin Standring, his sister, and many more people.
About this time a great preacher called Doctor West came to
Oldham [and] made
the Methodists believe he could do wonders in putting a stop to Mormonism. He
published his lecture against all kinds of infidelity including Catholicism,
Mormonism, etc. We went to hear. Although a mere boy, I put him to shame, and
the Methodists too. So much that they shut their chapel against him. He had to
hire another hall, and in that he sent for the "young lad," as he
called me, and when I went, he wanted me to prove to the people that I believed
the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints by taking a dose of deadly poison, because
the Book of Covenants
reads, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, …and if they
drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them." (Mark 16: 16, 18) He and
the Methodists were clamorous for me to take it. I told him I would like to ask
him one little question before I took it, for he told me it would most
assuredly kill. And they shouted, "Take it! Why don't you take it?!"
Some infidels called out, "Shame, shame! Allow him to ask the
question!" So the great Learned Doctor allowed me to ask the question.
I asked him if he believed the New Testament.
"Oh, most assuredly."
I then quoted to him the same words as found in the last chapter of Mark, and said, "Now Doctor West, you take one half of that deadly stuff to prove to that ungodly crowd of professing Christians, and I will take the other half."
He backed down entirely, and we had no more of him. The Oldham Branch was in a fine condition. And soon after this, to my surprise, the way opened up for me to emigrate and leave that land.
I had much sorrow to contend with because of the folly and unbelief of my partner in life.
Sept. 24, 1848.
Although very young, I was appointed first counselor to the president, and much of the time I had charge of the company. The ship was the Sailor Prince, The president, Lorenzo Butler. On one part of our voyage we were becalmed for many days, and it happened that I was called upon to pray before we went to our berths. And in my simplicity I very humbly asked our Father in Heaven to give us fair winds. As I did so, the captain, who was just above me on the poop deck, began to curse and blaspheme. Oh it was awful. We had been asking for the same for a long time. We went [to] bed, and early in the morning I went on deck and as soon as I made my appearance, there was such a shout: "Hurrah for Mr. Taylor. He is the man when you want anything you must ask him to pray!." We had a fair wind and were going fine.
We landed in
where Lucious N. Schovill had
been sent to preside, having no means to take us further. We stopped there, and
I was appointed first councillor to Br. Schovill. We stayed from November
till the following May, when we left for
New Orleans . St. Louis
the cholera was very bad, and when we got to it was worse.
We all had it lightly, but by the blessing of our Heavenly [Father], we got
over it. I did not find the Saints here living their religion like Saints. I
will not say it caused me to do wrong, but like others I did many things that I
have been sorry for ever since but hope I may be forgiven. St. Louis
My two brothers both went to the Valley and left me there. After I had toiled for five years I by faith and economy made a bare fit out and by a great wonder got [to] the
. Valley of Utah
We started on the first of May, went up to Keokuk, and from there started to cross the plains in what was called the St. Louis Independent Company. Captain Moses Clawson [was] our leader.
We had a fine time altogether. Several very bad stampedes on the way, but no one seriously hurt. One day my little daughter Margaret fell off the wagon tongue and was run over by both wheels. I was afraid she was killed, but we administered to her, and strange to tell, at dinner time next day she run after me, got out of the wagon herself, and ran after me to see some missionary that was camped a little way off. We then wended our way westward and had no more accidents but were very short of provisions, and the feed for our cattle begun to be very short.
I used to go off into the mountains to seek grass. I always found it in great abundance, and having filled two large sacks, I used to lug them to camp and feed it to my cattle at noon when the rest had none. By that means I kept my cattle in prime order. Ourselves, we begun to get very short of provisions—so much so that I had to give my children a few pieces of dried apple instead of dinner, but they never complained once, but I felt it very badly.
I had a promise from my brothers that if I would get spades and scythes and such things, they would meet me with provisions, but when we got one day past Bridger, we had two small biscuts apiece and these were done. A man driving a flock of sheep along and some of them dying of footlace and poverty. He skinned them and cut them up and gave portions of them to us and others, and this he told us a little that night. I told my wife to give one little biscut apiece to the children. I would go without, and what we should do for a week I could not tell, but we must trust in the Lord. I could hear nothing of my brothers, only that the Indians were so bad they were not allowed to come out. While I stood by the wagon wheel reflecting, I saw a man come down the hill to the camp where he soon found his brother and family, and after having a good time with them, I heard him ask if there was a man of the name of
in the camp. Taylor
I soon walked up, or run, and told him I was that man. He said, Brother Willm was at
That was more than a day's journey. He was there waiting for me. I soon asked
him if he had any provisions with him. He said he had a plenty. I went back to
my wagon and told my wife to give the children some more supper, and I felt God
was taking care of us.
Next morning we started early to find more feed, and getting on to a ridge we found grass and stopped for breakfast. And while getting it ready we were passed by some missionaries going to
I knew some of them and asked them if they had seen my Br. William. They told
me yes, he was just behind them. I ran and met him and then we did have a time,
joined the children and their mother and me—we had a feast of fat things. England
After that in about a week we got our first sight of
and as soon as I saw it I fell on my knees and thanked God for so safely
bringing me and mine to safety to our journey's end. Salt Lake City
After being in Salt Lake City a short time, in which I was ordained a Seventy in the Sixth Quorum, we then moved to a place 30 miles south, to a place call[ed] Lehi, of which we have been residents ever since—over 30 years. I can say truly in that time I have wronged no man in thought, word or deed knowingly, but have tried to be a consistent Latter-day Saint.
When we came here we had four small children. We now have nine, some dead, and over 40 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
In Lehi I built me a house on a lot I drawed, the first house built on a city lot after it was laid off as a city. Two adobe rooms. In 1854 I started a dramatic association. We played many times and had lots of fun.
In the spring of 1856, I was called to go on a mission to
and in April we started to go. I sold my blacksmith tools to get me a horse to
go with. I left home with very little bedding, thinking I would leave my family
as comfortable as I could. The first night I was appointed to sleep in the
wagon with J. Gibson. I had but the one quilt for under and over, and he like a
loving brother wrapped himself up and got as far from me as he could, for fear
the hem of his quilts should touch me and do me some good. But the next night
and after that, good Miles Romney took me into his bed, and I got along better.
After some time there was a pail of blankets found in the road. I got them and
was then more comfortable. England
We had many strange things occurred to us in getting along. When we got to the South Pass we often slept under the snow, and one night it snowed and blooded fearfully, and when morning came it was so bad the [suit is more?] to try and find the Sweetwater. He found it and we moved down to it, and from that we stood out in the snow and cold for 58 hours, it snowing incessantly till it froze horses and mules to death. Then the captain of the company told us if we did not get out of that we should all share the same fate. We started and had to walk elbow to elbow, and after tramping the snow we wrest with ropes pulled the teams through. We could see no sight of a road and had to guess at it the best we could. We had not gone far before the sun shone out and before night we were more or less snow blind. Brother Orson Pratt was literally so for many days.
We soon got over it and went along with the raggedest faces anyone ever saw. I forgot to say my horse was one that succumbed to the cold.
I was feeling very bad and shedding tears when Br. Benson came to me and blessed me and told me I should have [more] horses and cattle than I had ever owned and tried to comfort me all he could.
I still had an interest in the wagon, but two of those that were with us from that time on were trying the Job comforters plan, informing me that they would sell the wagon and would pack it, which would leave me out in the cold. This meant you must pay us for carrying you bread and dinner. One night the Twelve had heard of this and Br. Benson got up and told the company what they were going to do, but said he, when they do it, Br. Taylor [must] have one of the horses, for I will tell them he has got an interest in that fit out. These were two Jacobs, but they never said one more word about packing. But one of these, when we got to the Missouri River, he claimed all I had to sell to carry me down to the river to
. He claimed it for hauling my
things. I let them go but I am afraid they proved a curse to him. St. Louis
On the way we met and [passed?] many hostile Indians, but when they were told we were Mormons, they never molested us in any way.
We got to the river, and the brethren sold out in a very short time, and in a few hours we were on a steam boat on our way to
Br. Miles Romney offered me half of all [he] had got for his share, but I got
along without. When we got to St. Louis St. Louis we told
to go out in the country and see the Saints and collect whatever they would
give towards sending us on to . England
I went out to a place called Gravois, and there found some old acquaintances and next day came back. Was told they had held a meeting and divided the money and when my name was mentioned Br. Benson told them not to mind me, I would get along. This made me think, but however there had been enquiring for me and left word for me to meet him next morning. It [was] David Turnbull, formerly of Hockport Branch in the same conference we came from. I met him. He asked me what money I had towards taking me to
I told him I had a little. He took me to his acquaintance and begged for me and
got me money enough to take me to England New York and
from there to .
We took the train to
, got there at
night and were much bothered with rumors and so determined not to be led by
them that we got outside of everywhere. We thought we found a fruit stall and
we asked the girl that kept it to direct us to a decent place for lodgings. She
said she could take us to the very place we wanted to go. She took us to a
house kept by a[n] Englishman who treated us good. Next morning we went to see
Br. John Taylor who kept the Mormon office, and after talking sometime he
directed us to go to a house in New York Greenwich
Street kept by Mr. Walker till the ship was ready,
the best place he knew of. We told him that was the place where we got to the
night before. So we stayed and were well treated both there, and when we
returned it became a Mormon house from that time we were made at home till we
went on board ship.
We went on board on the 3rd of July 1856, and a very prosperous voyage. Landed in
early in August. I went home to my folks that same day. Reached there about ten
o'clock at night and was very glad to embrace my father, mother, brother and
niece, and spent a joyfull time with them. Preached in the ['coon?] at Oldham, had a good time with the Saints. Next went to
Shaw to preach there. Had a good time with a Methodist minister. He first
introduced a lot of Books and papers and wanted to read from them. I told him I
would have nothing to do with them. They did not one of them agree with the
other. They would assert and I could contradict--and how much wiser would they
be? We then went at polygamy. He made a great many very foolish assertions. I
replied to them and bore a very faithful testimony, till he trembled like an
aspen and asked me where he could get our works, he wanted to read them.
I had a good time and God was with me and blessed me very much.
I next day received a letter to go to Acrington to commence my labours in the Preston Conference. I went and found Br. Dana and Jas. Craig. I laboured in that conference till the end of the year. In that time I went to hear a Mr. Hawthornwahite who had come to lecture for the Methodists against the Mormons. I heard him make some very untrue statements. He allowed me to reply, and I did so till he was ashamed of himself. I told them that on Sunday night I would give a lecture in reply to all he had been telling them. I did so to a room full of people. After I had done, the Methodists asked me if I would meet the same man in a public debate on Mormonism. I told them if the Bible should be the only rule of evidence I was quite willing. They made an agreement to that effect and directly put up great bills on the wall announcing the same.
I was appointed to the Welsh mission and had to go right away. They accepted Jas. Marsden in my place when the time came he only tried to make one [something inserted, illegible?] speech and give it up. The rest of the time was spent in [I Mers?] preaching to the people. I went to
to labour as counselor to President Daniels and spent the rest of my mission
among that people. Wales
I had many great blessings while labouring among that people. Upon one occasion I was very unwell and went to a place where I thought there would be a sister who would nurse me and comfort me as many of the good sisters would. When I got there they told me Sister Harris was sick in bed. I went to the foot of stairway and called out "Sister Harris, what ails you?" She replied, "I am very sick." I answerd, "You must not be sick for I am sick and I need you." In a very few minutes she came down all right, ready to attend to be [me]. She said God had healed her instantly and she was ready like a blessed mother.
In the same place they had heard I was come and another Sister who apparently was sick unto death, sent for me. I went and she was very low. She asked me to administer to her. I told her I was to sick to do so, but I said, "In the name of the Lord for your faith you shall have a blessing." I all most thought I had no business but next morning she was better than she had been for years. These two cases caused a great stir in the neighborhood. This was in the Penicui [?] Branch.
Upon another occasion I was in north
with David John. He had promised to preach in a place calld Ruthin, but he was
so hoarse he could not be heard at all, only in a whisper. He felt bad. I put
my hand on his shoulder as we went along and said, "Br. John, in the name
of the Lord be well and preach." And he do so. The hoarseness immediately
left him and he could preach. I thought it very presumptious but I did [it] in
the name and fear of the Lord my Savior. Wales
Another time I was going from a Branch below
We had to go about forty miles and intended to start on the morning train, but
when the time came the Saints would not let us go. They said we could go at
twelve o'clock AM. They would not let us go at noon. We went, and when we got
within a few miles of our destination we found the train we should have gone on
was wrecked all to smash and the car we should have been in (for the man I was
with had a particular choice), and if we had been there we should have been
killed sure and certain. I owe much gratitude to my Heavenly Father for his
preserving care and his great great goodness to me. I hope I ever will be grateful
for this and many other blessings to me in many ways. Cardiff
I spent a very happy time in the Welsh mission. The people where very good to me. I could have had anything but I took no advantage of the people's kindness. I lived and spent with care and economy. My mission in that country would have been much longer but Johnson's army started for
and we where called home and had to leave in a hurry to come home. Utah
I had the pleasure of rebaptizing my dear mother before I left. We left in February on a sailing vessel "Empire", Feb. 19, 1858, for
and had a prosperous voyage and land[ed] in Mar. 20, 1858, and were to be very
quiet and not let anyone know who we were. But for all that, they knew us
everywhere. We left New York New
York and after trying to get somewhere we found ourselves in and after
staying there sometime. St. Louis
I was told by the president of the mission that I must go and charter a steam boat to take up quite a company of Elders and families going up to a new settlement called
. The men folks had gone before I did so
we got very good terms. We went aboard and had a good time all the way up. Genoa
At the commencement some of the cabin passengers where very mean to us, but the mate told them he would not have us insulted by no one. We where minding our own business and they must let us alone. After that we where treated with great kindness and had every favour shown to us, and when we landed at Florence, the officers where very sorry they had to let us go. The captain said we were the finest lot of folks he had ever had on his boat. We stayed there some time and saw hard times before we where ready to start over the plains for home. But we were organized at last and had a very poor fit out and a poorer captain, but we started.
I must here mention that we where very kindly treated by the Piper Brothers who where keeping store there in
We started across the plains and where told that the soldiers at
were on the
lookout for us. We traveled on till we came within some fifteen miles for Fort
when we laid by one half day and wasted some ammunition trying to hit the trees
and then at sundown being ready, we started to go past the fort in the night.
Our Captains left us to go and find a camping place some miles further on, told
us if we found any trouble to fire a revolver and they would hurry back. We
must keep close together and make no noise. We had not gone very far in the
dark when we heard one of the teams had got off to the right just as far as we
could hear him. This caused some harm
for we where nearing the Fort where we where told they had camped. Set all
across the road to stop us. We went on in the dark and all at once we found a
strange team coming up behind the last wagon. He finding a lot of wagons in
front of his, got scared and began to fire off his revolver. Others did the
same and oh what a scene of confusion. The captains came hurrying back and then
we found out we had been traveling in a circle and it was the first team had
caught up with the last, and we were so confused we did not know which way to
go. We had to tie up and stay till daylight,
and then we found we were just opposite the fort. I was very fine on our
side of the river. On the fort side there was a thick mist so the soldiers
never saw us. I think the Lord was showing us very plain he presided over that
fit out and we ought to trust in him. Fort Kearney
We tried the same dodge at
with a similar
result. The Lord took care of us whither we would or not. We got along till we
came to the head of Laramie . We camped there
on the Saturday night and in the morning held a council to see what we had
better do, although we had been told that peace was made. Still we had some
cowards in our band that wanted to escape north, but we prevailed and sent a
deputation to see in Echo if the soldiers were in the canyon
ahead of us. It had rained and they came back and responded that nothing had
gone up or down for a week. We started then [hurrah] for home. We had not gone but a very short distance
when we found ourselves in the midst of Johnson's Army. You may be sure we
passed in a hurry. We reached Echo
Canyon June 21, 1858, and found it desolate. The
inhabitants all gone. We stayed one night and next day we arrived at home and a
joyful meeting we had. Salt
I do not want to write of many years that passed after that of sorrow and heartaches that I endured but amongst it all I was the means of starting the Sunday School which afterwards became one of the chief [institutions?] of the territory. I labored mightily for many years when for no fault of mine I was dismissed. All through the misrepresentations of a mean person. I pass over this period rather than write of the meanness of which I was the victim and come to a better time, but before doing so I will relate—me and a few others with Br. T. R. Cutler to take charge, we commenced a Cooperative Institution. which has proved a decided success. I was chosen president of the same and at this time, 1886, I still remain so.
The better time was when the authorities saw fit to appoint T. R. Cutler as the Bishop of Lehi. With him began a reign of peace and quietness. I was put back into the Sunday School. John Taylor became president of the Church and the word was, Put away all your sins and serve the Lord with full purpose of heart, and be in reality Latter day Saints. We are enjoined to keep the word of wisdom. This is not hard for me. I have been trying for over forty year to do so.
I ought to have told that after I came home from my mission I was appointed one of the presidents of the forty fourth quorum of Seventy. I remained so till now. We where recommended to join the quorum established in the place where we reside, so I have withdrawn from the 44th to the 68th and am now a member of that quorum.
I am this week sixty five years of age. I have been a member of the church for over 44 years and am proud of my standing and of the prospects that are before us and, oh how I wish that I could say as for me and my house we will serve the Lord, but I cannot, for it seems as though I should have to go and be with very few exceptions alone in the kingdom of God.
I am very thankful to be able to say the people seem today more determined than I ever saw them to keep God's laws and commandments. We have good meetings. Speakers seem blessed. The meeting house is filled. Our school on Sunday is full, and thank God we seem to be trying to do better and I hope will shall go on to the perfect day and be ready when He comes whose right it is to reign.
We have now passed another year and many [things?]. We are still urged to live our religion. It won't do to just have a name on the books. We are told we must be Saints indeed. During the year I have been removed from the 44 Quorum to the 68 Quorum as one of the Presidents of the same. I have been very unwell since then and have not been of much use to the Brethren of that quorum. My wife also has been very sick for a long time.
To complete the history of James Whitehead Taylor, the following are the closing remarks of Ethel Taylor Scalley’s history of James.
James was the means of starting the Sunday School which afterward became one of the leading interests of the territory. . . The Sunday School was found in May 1866. For many years he was the superintendent. He was at his best as a Sunday School man, being possessed of a most pleasing personality and an attractive smile. He was able to win the love and confidence of the children who listened with rapt attention to his faith promoting stories. . .
During the years James took part in activities which brought him before the public. In those days when public amusements were very rare, he was editor and reader of a paper which was part of the regular Sunday evening meeting. Many amusing and humorous sketches were the results of his fertile imagination. At times he apperead on the Fourth and Twenty-fourth programs with original songs and readings. His old love for the “footlights” led him to put on a number of plays in the music hall. These were always eagerly patronized by the public.
James was a useful man in the community and did much to dispel the drudgery and sordidness of pioneer days. With all his fun making and comedy, however, he was deeply religious and spiritual-minded man. . . Nine days after completing his seventy-second year, James Whitehead Taylor passed peacefully to the great beyond on March 27, 1891. He left a very large family to carry on his good name. . .
At his grave in the
is a monument with the following inscription: Lehi Cemetery
The People’s Co-operative Institution
In Grateful Memory of Their Friend
Who was Their President Eighteen Years
Have Shared with the Family in Erecting
From a marble stone at his grave side, we also read:
An amiable father here lies at rest.
As ever God with his image blest,
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, the friend of youth.
Death of James W. Taylor
Elder James Whitehead Taylor departed this life at fifteen minutes to 12 on Friday, March 27th, after an illness of ten days. He was the son of Samuel and Sarah Taylor and was born March 18th 1819 at Dryclough near Royton,
. He married Ann Rogers in
October, 1839. In 1840 he first heard the gospel preached by Apostle Parley P.
Pratt, and was baptized in the month of June, 1841. Shortly after embracing the
gospel he was ordained a Priest and commenced preaching. This was followed by
bitter persecution. While engaged in secret prayer, these words were whispered
very plainly in his ear: Lancashire, England
“Tis gone forth, a firm decree. That as thy day thy strength shall be.”
From the time of his reception of the Gospel till the day of his death, he never faltered, but was always found faithful to the truth. In 1843 he was ordained an Elder and was afterwards made president of the Oldham Branch. With his family the deceased left his native land for
America in the fall of 1848 and landed in . There he
remained a short time, and then came up the river locating in New Orleans . He remained in the States five
years before being able to procure the necessary outfit to bring his family to St. Louis . He arrived in Utah in the fall
of 1853. The same season he moved to Lehi, where he had since made his home. in
the spring of 1856 brother Salt Lake City Taylor was called to
go on a mission to England,
which he faithfully filled, laboring in both England
and returned in 1858. After his return, he was appointed one of the Presidents
of the Forty-Fourth Quorum of Seventies, and held that position until
recommended to join that Sixty-eighth Quorum, organized in Lehi. Wales
He was the first or one of the first to agitate the question of Sunday School in Lehi, was appointed Superintendent of the school and was a faithful worker therein from its inception until his death — a period of 24 years. His love for the children and his great influence over them specifically adapted him for this work. He possessed wonderful ability for instructing entertaining and amusing both old and young; and as long as his health would permit he was always foremost in everything for the advancement and good of the people.
Brother and Sister Taylor had 12 children, 68 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren of whom two sons, seven daughters, 51 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren are still living.
Brother Taylor died surrounded by his wife and children who did all in their power to help and comfort him during his sickness. Kind friends were also ready and anxious to help.
The funeral services were held in the meeting house on Sunday morning March 29th. Consoling remarks were made by the following brothern: William Goates, Sen., William Yates, William Southwick, Oley Ellingson, Bishop T. R. Cutler, John Woodhouse and Counselor William Clark.
Actually, it's in Mormon 9:24.
 From the “Journal of John Woodhouse,” p. 21, we take the following description of the cholera raging in
. This was
written in 1851, while James and Ann Taylor lived in St. Louis : St. Louis
This was received for Anne Chambers.
[I have an additional history of James Whitehead Taylor and Ann Rogers. It is 28 pages longs, if you would like to receive a copy, please contact me. Tammy Stevenson]
[I have an additional history of James Whitehead Taylor and Ann Rogers. It is 28 pages longs, if you would like to receive a copy, please contact me. Tammy Stevenson]
I was born in England, 24 July 1834. When I was sixteen years old, I sailed from Liverpool on the ship “Olympus.” After a very stormy voyage of eight weeks, I landed in New Orleans and took a berth on a Steam Boat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. Cholera broke out and many died. We were all put ashore Quarantine Island and kept there until all danger of contagion was over. We were then sent to St. Louis but arrived too late to cross the plains that season. The next April we went up the river to Reopuk, a town of few inhabitants. We put our wagons together, loaded our provisions, and I took my first less as a teamster. I drove four yokes of oxen and wagon about fifteen hundred miles along the Mississippi River in April of 1852. We arrived at the spot now called Lehi in September of the same year.
The settlers had moved up from Snow Spring and built their cabins on the ground called the Garden Lots on the banks of what was then called Dry Creek. There were also a few families living near the lake.
The people were not to remain in a scattered condition long. On July 13, the Indians commenced their raids on the cattle, driving them off and killing settlers. It was necessary to build a fort. By the latter part of July we were on the way and succeeded in getting through without any attacks from the Indians.
From 1853 up to the present time the Indians continued their depredations. Sometime it was the Walker, then the Black Hawk, and the Tintic and others.
In the year 1854, the Lehi Dramatic Association was organized with Thomas Taylor as President and James Taylor as Stage Manager. The other members I remember were William Taylor, Edwin Strandring, William Hudson, John Field, Joseph Field, William Bandyke, Oscar Taylor and his wife, and William Ball. The first play presented was in the old log meeting house. The play was “Luke, the Laborer.” Our lights were tallow candles. Scenery, wagon covers, and drop curtain scenery were painted with charcoal and red paint from a rock quarry.
On the thirtieth of Jun 1856, I was married to Sarah Jane Taylor, daughter of James Taylor. I had previously built a house, intending to live in it, but a man was killed there so I sold it for another lot. I got adobe bricks and went to the west mountain canyon for logs. I built me a room having previously learned the masson’s business. My wife helped me by putting adobies on the scaffold. I got it finished with the board rook and mud on the boards. I made a bedstead out of poles. A soap box held all our extra clothing. But we were happy, with all our Indian troubles and famine from grasshoppers. This caused us to live on thistle roots and fish.
In 1857 Bishop Evans was appointed to take a company and explore the White Mountains and the Beaver Valley. He called on William Taylor, Richard Bee, John Norton, William Skines, Doctor Williams, Thomas Randall, and myself. We took tools and provisions for several months. The Indians enjoyed our rations very much and called us “Wino Mormons” or Good Mormons.
We had our social parties and our dramatic entertainments. After the log house got too small to do for a theater, we fitted up the upper room of the tithing house and had a performance every week. Tickets were sold for all kinds of produce, grain, potatoes, squash, wood and sage brush. A season ticket was one dollar and fifty cents and for those that could not get money any other way, a load of sage brush was taken for the season ticket. A great deal of rehearsing was done by the light from sage brush.
James was asked by some church members how it was his children were growing up good and respectable, always found in good company, never visited saloons, etc. He answered, “My family is my religion. My whole aim is to bring them up to be honorable members of society. I have tried to make their home happy and attractive, by doing so they have kept out of bad company and I find it has repaid me a thousand fold.”
James died October 26, 1912 in Lehi, Utah at the age of 78.
George Henry Smith, 82, died this morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Frank Halverson of Riverside, following an illness of three weeks. He was born in Lehi, Utah, April 23, 1860, the son of Samuel and Jane Smith. His early life was spent in Utah until 1903 when he came to Lewisville, Idaho, to work. Two years later he brought his family to Idaho. He was married to Jane Harwood in Lehi, December 24, 1881. To This union were born 11 children of whom seven are still living. His wife died February 8, 1938.
He was agricultural superintendent for the Utah- Idaho Sugar Company for a period of 25 years during which time he was largely instrumental in encouraging the raising of sugar beets in this valley. In the year 1909, he was sustained a member of the high council of the L. D. S. Church in Blackfoot Stake, which office he held until being selected as bishop of the Riverside Ward in 1914. He filled this position until 1919 and was sustained in the high council upon his release from the bishopric.
In 1935, he returned to Lehi to make his home and was sustained a member of the high council there. After the passing of his wife, he remained in Lehi for a year and then sold his home and moved to Blackfoot where he has resided since.
He also served two terms on the Blackfoot City Council.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon from the Riverside L. D. S. Chapel with Owen Taylor of the Bishopric officiating. Friends may call at the home of Frank Halverson in Riverside Thursday evening and until service time Friday. Interment will be Saturday in Lehi, Utah cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Brown- Elderidge Mortuary.
Mr. Smith leaves the following son and daughters: George H. Smith, Jr., Lehi, Utah: Mrs. Annie Webb, Lehi, Utah; Mrs. Stella Wray, Riverside: Mrs. Rose Taylor, Ogden, Utah; Mrs. Mary Halverson, Riverside; Mrs. Zada Peterson, Thomas; and Mrs. Fern Gurney, Riverside; also 44 grandchildren, and 51 great grand children.
George Henry Smith
I was born Lehi, Utah, April 23, 1860. My father was Samuel T Smith born in Nottingham,
England. My mother was Jane Dean born in Derbishere, England.
I remember an incident which happened when I was three years old. I suppose the reason it stands out in my memory so vividly is because we were so frightened. My father and mother drove to Salt Lake with an ox team to get their endowments. They were to be gone a few days so they arranged for a Danish woman to stay with my sister, who was four years older than I, and myself. The woman went and left us alone all night. I remember the next day my sister climbing on an old chicken coop to see if she could see our folks coming home.
My father never had his hair cut short and he liked us boys to wear ours long too. One day when I was just a little fellow and our parents were at church, my brother, who was older than me, cut my hair. It looked like it had been cut with a knife and fork. Weren’t our folks angry when they came home. Mother made me wear a red handkerchief on my head all the time because she was afraid that I could catch cold.
I started school at the age of six years in a one room school room. Our course of study consisted of the three R’s. For punishment, made me stand in a corner on a stool with a dunce cap on my head. I was compelled to stand there until I saw someone else whispering, then they could take my place. I happened to see a certain girl talking so I said, “That Gerney girl is talking.” And the teacher said, “You stay there until you can say, ‘Mr. Gurney’s girl is talking.’” I didn’t attempt to tell on anyone else. I quit school at the age of 18 years, when I was in the fifth reader.
I was baptized when I was 8 or 9 years old, and then at the age of 16 was re-baptized and ordained a priest. It was in November and they had to cut the ice to baptize us. I well remember one of the boys ripped out an oath and said the water was cold. The man officiating, who was elderly and very serious, at once doused him in the water again.
When I was nine years old, the grasshoppers destroyed nearly all the crops. My father raised two bushels of wheat from thirteen acres of ground. After the grasshoppers had left my father planted corn on the land that had been cleared and sold it for one cent per ear of corn. I remember buying a slate for ten ears of corn. I used that same slate all during my school life.
When I was about nine or ten years old, I went with my father to Salt Lake on a load of wood drawn by an ox team. The wood was used for a subscription to the “Deseret News”. It took three days to make the trip. I remember Main Street in Salt Lake was lined with pole fences. While there we saw the first train come from Ogden to Salt Lake. The train was composed of an engine, a mail car, and two passenger cars.
When I was about twelve years old, a very sad things happened to our school teacher, William Thurman. He and my sister were sweethearts soon to be married. It was Christmas Eve and Mr. Thurman was in the school house decorating the Christmas tree and making other preparations for the school program. They had some trouble with a boy by the name of Jed Woodard, who was a regular bully, and had expelled him from school. The boy came to the door and tried to get in. Mr. Thurman tried to make him go away, and the boy shot and killed him.
When they made the cut through the point of the mountain, just north east of Lehi, wheelbarrows were used to move all the dirt. This cut was made so the railroad could be built to Lehi. Before the railroad came, the wagon road was only wide enough for one team.
In 1878, I started my courtship with Mary J. Harwood. During the winter of ’78-79, I cut ties in American Fork Canyon for the railroad. In the spring on ’79, I went to Ruby Valley, Nevada. I drove a herd of cattle out there for Ira D. Wines. The day I left my best girl tried to drown herself, by accident, however. We were twenty three days on the road. One night we camped late, and made our beds on the sandy spot. The next morning when I took the covers from the ground, I found two scorpions. That summer I worked for a man by the name of Gedney. One night I was in the bunk house with the other men when the boss and some man who was buying cattle for a California market came in. During the conversation this man from California asked me where I was from. I was almost afraid to tell him because of the opposition against our people but finally told him I was from Utah. “Are you Mormon?” He asked. I answered, “yes, perhaps not a very good one though.” He said, “young man, you never need to be ashamed of being Mormon; I have bought cattle from one end of Utah to the other and have found them to be4 the most honorable people I have ever met.” While in Nevada one night, we saw a sign in the sky. The word W-A-R was spelled. This same thing was visible to many people in many different states. I returned home that fall and spent the winter burning charcoal in Rush Valley, which was used in smelters and blacksmith shops.
In the fall of 1880, I fished for trout in Utah Lake with my brother Ted. The lake was about 12 feet deep. We would take small rope which we brought by the coil and attached this to poles which were driven into the lake about 40 rods apart. We would tie fish lines to this rope about every twenty feet. These lines were baited with minnows, and the men would go out in the boats to get the fish and rebait the hooks. One morning my brother Ted was out on the lake taking care of the lines when a fierce wind came up. The waves were very high and it was impossible for him to get to shore. A man by the name of Ned Darling was on shore and knew of my brother’s plight. He was almost crazy. My brother hung to the rope and bailed water out of the boat. The wind subsided for a very short time, and my brother made for the shore as quickly as possible. He arrived safely and almost at once the wind commenced again and blew unceasingly for twenty-four hours.
I worked on the railroad from Lehi Junction to Tintic. In the fall on 1880, the D R & G railroad was built through Lehi. W S Evans and I had the contract.
December 24, 1881, I was married to Mary J Harwood. In the spring of that year we moved on the old place in the field. We lived in little room (it was so little that if we came out face foremost we had to back in.) We built a little canvas shanty at the end of the house which we used for summer kitchen. Mother had some small ducks in a little pen at the west of the house. One morning, one little duck was running about alone peeping. I lifted up the cover to look in the pen and found mothering in there but one big skunk. I got him out and he ran into the canvas shanty. As he came out I hit him with a stick killing him. I’ll leave the rest for you to guess. We had a copper coffee pot that we used for heating water. Try as we might we never could remove the odor.
In 1889, we experienced quite a serious drought. There was no water in the ditches, and many of the wells went dry. The river was so low that the people of Salt Lake conceived the idea that if flowing wells were drive, along the banks of the Jordan River, so that the water could flow into the river it would help them considerably. They had forty wells driven, twenty of which I drove myself with some assistance. Charles H Wilkins was water master of Salt Lake and had this project in charge. My well driver was home made and very crude as compared to the others, but was a member of the army at the time they came to Utah, and became so thoroughly disgusted with the soldiers and their threats to the Mormon woman and girls, that he left the army. Later he became a Mormon and a highly respected citizen of Salt Lake.
I had the honor with the assistance of Israel Evans of driving the first flowing well in Lehi. It was driven for Father Harwood on his place. We used a sledge hammer to drive the pipe. It was such a curiosity that people came from all over the county with their buckets to taste the water.
In the winter of 1890, I hauled rock to build the sugar factory in Lehi. The spring of that year we built two large adobe rooms on the front of our house.
Father and Mother both passed away that year. Father March 10, and Mother the following August. They were living with us at the time. I should like to state now in memory of them that they were the best parents a boy ever had, honorable, loving and kind. They came to Utah for the gospel and endured many hardships as a result. They lost their three oldest children on the way and buried them in St. Louis, Missouri. As they crossed the Platte River with all their possessions, the wagons were tipped over and everything was lost excepting a small trunk. They arrived in Utah with practically nothing. Father didn’t have shoes to wear and mother told of making his underwear out of sheets.
One summer I had taken my wife’s three brothers, Jim, Don, and Fred, up the American Fork Canyon. I had left them there and was on my way home. My wagon was equipped with two spring seats. I had just come down a dug-way and used my brakes. As I came to a little steep hill and went to put on my brake, I discovered a bolt had come out of the brake rod thus making my brakes useless. I stopped the horses and went back a few rods to get the bolt. While I was gone my team started I ran and jumped in the wagon box. I realized that without the lines I could do nothing so I jumped out of the wagon. By this time the horses were running down the canyon like lightning. Near the mouth of the canyon a wagon with two cords of wood was standing in the road. The owner had unhitched his team and had taken it to water. My team and wagon was making straight for the wagon, because the road was so very narrow. When they got to the wagon they turned out just enough to catch the hind wheels of both wagons, breaking the axle off right near the wheel of the load of wood and the double tress of mine. This of course freed the horses from the wagon and they continued in their mad race. Just out of the canyon, a man on horse back caught the team and brought it back. By this time I had reached the wagon and ground the owner of the wood very much concerned bout things. We unloaded his wood and put in on my wagon and then hitched my team to his wagon after wiring the axle as best we could and I followed him to his home in Pleasant Grove. I told the man to get the axle fixed and I would pay for it if he would send me the bill. When the bill came, I sent him the money, and he wrote me thanking me kindly. In this letter he said, “I am glad to fine one man who believes in doing to others as he would be done by.”
I had a very close call once while driving cattle in the hills west of Lehi. I was driving two cows and two calves. They kept going in opposite directions. I had chased them for hours until my horse had become tired. All at once the horse stepped in a badger hole and fell. I fell from the horse but one foot was caught in the stirrup. I tried to free myself but couldn’t so I sprang for the saddle and caught it with one hand. I kept calling to the horse until it finally stopped. But I’m sure that the fact that it was so tired was all that saved me.
In March of 1902, we lost a baby, Flora. She lived one a few hours.
Once while in west canyon for wood I had the misfortune of spraining my ankle. It happened that I had a team hitched and the wood all ready to start home when the accident happened. I managed to get on the wagon and drove home. When I reached home my foot was so swollen and painful that I couldn’t get around. It was some time before I could get around without some assistance.
In 1903, Salt Lake County installed a pumping plant at the head of Jordan River for the purpose of pumping water from Utah Lake into Jordan River, thus increasing their water supply. I assisted in installing this plant. Except for small jobs on the side, I spent about twenty-four years running a farm in Lehi, Utah.
I served in the Lehi City Council for one term.
In August of this year our first great sorrow came to us in the death of our oldest daughter, Grace, who was 21 years old.
I obtained a job with the Sugar Company in 1904 and spent the summer and fall in Idaho as field man for Sugar City and Idaho Falls Factories.
In January 1905, George was married to Christie Sharp and within two weeks left for a mission to the Northern States. Our second daughter, Annie, was married to Eugene Webb in February of this year and the following summer they lived on the farm and Eugene managed it. Our little boy, Sammie died in April and Fern was born in August of the same year.
In 1905 the Sugar Company purchased the factory at Blackfoot making me assistant Agricultural Superintendent. I moved my family to Idaho in December of this year and located the Sugar Company ranch in Riverside. I was later made the Agricultural Superintendent of both Blackfoot and Shelley factories. My son George acting as my assistance for two years. While acting in this capacity we made a trip to Denver, Colorado in the interest of the Sugar Beet Industry.
In the fall of 1907 we lost our little girl Clara.
Within the next two or three years our three daughters, Stella, Rose and Mary were married. Stella to Hyrum Wray, Rose to Ed Taylor, and Mary to Ray Taylor.
In 1902 my wife and I made a trip to Old Mexico to visit my sister, Lizzie, and her family whom we had not seen for years. This was a very pleasant and interesting trip. We also visited place of interest in California.
In 1914, we sent our daughter Zada on a mission to the Central States. Soon after her return she was married to James A. Peterson.
In 1915, I was made Bishop of Riverside Ward and held that position until 1918 when we purchased a home in Blackfoot and moved there.
In 1920 Jane and I with our daughter, Rose and her husband spent a week in Yellowstone Park.
In 1923 Fern our youngest child was married to Fred Gurney leaving us alone again.
In 1926 George moved with his family to Lehi and I became the owner of his home in Blackfoot. I had a chance to sell my place in 1929 so I let it go, and moved over to the place where George had lived.
I served two and one half terms in the Blackfoot City Council. I was a member of the High Council in the Blackfoot Stake from 1917 to 1933. I’ve traveled all over the stake in a buggy and when cars became popular I drove a car. I’ve talked in every meetinghouse from Jameston, a little ward northeast of Shelley, to Aberdeen and Fort Hall and in the Lost River wards before they were taken from the Blackfoot Stake, and I only missed one appointment in all that time, and I felt that I had a very good excuse. My appointment was to Aberdeen about 40 miles. It was winter time and at night. I was seventy years of age and my eye sight not too good especially at night.
I’ve had many pleasant times especially on trips in the mountains. Almost every summer we used to take our family accompanied by some other family and spent several days in the mountains, either in West or American Fork Canyon. One time in particular when we were living in Lehi, there were ninety people in the West Canyon at the same time. We spent the evenings around oe big campfire singing and making merry.
After coming to Idaho, we had many splendid fishing trips on Lost River. One time while out there with my son, George, and son-in-law, Ancel Peterson, I had a very narrow escape from a bull. We were fishing in Lost River near Arco. Ancel was fishing up the river and the bull had tried to attack him but he had escaped by means of a cement dam. The bull was very much enraged and when he came down the river and saw me, he was fighting mad. I was right in the open and could see no possible way of escape. There was a small bunch of willows, however, I got behind it. The bull could see me all the time and every move I made he pawed the ground and shook his head on which was the longest meanest looking horns I had seen. I tried in my fear to reason out some means of escape but it seemed impossible. It had always been a habit of mine to call on the Lord when in trouble. At this time I silently asked the Lord to help me out of this difficulty. I was them prompted to run and jump in the river keeping the bunch of willows between us. I did this gradually making my way to the other side of the stream, and into the thick willows. The bull never knew where I had gone. He looked about, pawed the ground and went away.
Now at the age of 74. I am well satisfied with life and all in all I have been extremely happy. I realize that I’ve made some mistakes and may have accomplished more had I done differently, but then again I may have done much worse.
I’ve had one of the best wives and helpmates a man every had and our greatest comfort and joy is in our family of which we are very proud. We have had 11 children, 7 of which are living; 42 grandchildren, 38 living; and 16 great grandchildren, 14 living. (In 1934)
I’m still well and happy, except for the fact that I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other! And we are struggling along through this financial crisis in much the same way as other people.
Editor’s note- This was taken from an old typewritten autobiography of George H. Smith. With one addition from another manuscript of this life. Additionally, the following sentences were added by a family member by hand to the last page of the document.
In 1935 he and his wife moved back to Lehi, Utah. They had a nice home and were happy for four years later his companion passed away. Annie and her family went to live with him and took care of him for one and a half years. Then he came to Idaho and took turns living with his daughters there. He passed away December 9, 1942 at the home of his daughter, Mary Taylor Halverson. He was buried at the side of his beloved wife in the Lehi City Cemetery. “Father died at the age of 82. He was a kind loving Father and a friend to everyone.”